Oak is a hard wood used in furniture, boat and cabinetmaking. Oak sawdust has diverse applications. From smoking meat and fish to bedding for animals, oak sawdust is a valuable resource for farmers, gardeners and animal lovers. Oak sawdust is acidic, which makes it a favorite for various acid-loving plants.
Oak sawdust used as bedding for some animals is then recycled to the fields and gardens, providing an excellent fertilizer. Animal waste adds nitrogen to the sawdust, which depletes of nitrogen as it decomposes. Oak sawdust topped with hay helps absorb urine while providing animals with soft, comfortable bedding.
Smoking is an ancient means of preserving meat and fish. Oak sawdust is an excellent medium for smoking. Oak sawdust provides a distinctive woody flavor to the meat and fish. Slow burning oak sawdust cooks the meat or fish while retaining the moisture, leaving the meat or fish tender as well as deliciously flavored. Oak sawdust compressed into pellets with herbs provides an easy, no-mess means of smoking fish or meat.
Oak sawdust when aged and mixed with other organic compounds such as compost makes rich mulch for acid-loving plants. The tannin in oak gives the sawdust its acid base. Rhododendrons, mountain laurels as well as some perennials, such as lupines and daffodils, flourish with acidic mulch. Red oak sawdust is excellent mulch for blueberries, which produce well in acidic soils. Additionally, mushroom farmers use red oak sawdust as the growing medium for their mushrooms.
Innovative alternatives for producing energy are increasing. One alternative is wood pellets. Pellets, formed of compressed oak sawdust, are often mixed with other hardwoods and placed in pellet stoves, where they burn cleanly and efficiently for hours, providing heat without harmful pollutants. In addition, sawdust pellets burn slowly; therefore, consumers use less fuel.
While there are many benefits to using oak sawdust, there are also some cautions. Do not use oak sawdust as mulch on plants that do not thrive in acidic soil. They will die. Do not use oak sawdust with horses, sheep or cows. Some farmers and agricultural scientists believe that using oak sawdust with horses, sheep and cows may cause poisoning due to the tannin found in oak. Always keep oak sawdust moist, as all sawdust is combustible.